Tips on Creating an Internet Policy that Doesn’t Kill Morale
The internet is a tool that has limitless possibilities, which in turn makes it especially easy to abuse in an office setting without a well understood internet policy. That said, when a business owner is overly restrictive with their internet policies, it can hurt morale which in turn has the ability to hurt productivity. Often, the reason that employees use the internet in a non-work context is not because they wish to shirk their responsibilities, but because they might be unclear on the priorities that they should be working on. Establishing clear goals and protocols for clarifying tasks during the workday can help to keep employees moving consistently in the right direction.
What does your team need to do their jobs, and what represents a distraction that has the potential to impede their productivity? Generally, listening to music and sending a couple of persona emails in the course of a day falls within the realm of appropriate internet usage. It’s only when distractions such as watching videos and chatting on social media begin to take up large chunks of time that things begin to get out of hand. If left unaddressed, abuses of your internet policy stand to get worse as employees feel more and more comfortable using the internet for their entertainment on the job. Having a clear internet policy that employees sign after reading can help them to avoid.
Having a dedicated IT professional on staff can help preserve the productivity of your staff without the need to block sites. A system administrator has the ability to help a business owner makes smart choices about the use of the internet within a business, since they can monitor network use and give a full picture of how your employees are using their machines. When a single site is being visited often in a non-work related context, you can issue a warning to your staff that unless use of the site is brought to an acceptable level, a ban could be in the picture. Generally it is better to avoid banning site access in order to preserve morale, but should a website represent a clearly problematic distraction, then blocking access to the site is one way to stop it from punching a hole in productivity
Increased technology training can help your employees better understand how to relate to technology in the workplace. Getting more out of a computer in terms of productivity can help to eliminate some of the downtime that leads to distraction through providing new tools and even enabling employees to take on new tasks with the help of technology. Asking employees about their ability to produce, and then investing in relevant training is one way to both increase morale and to get more done, and goes hand in hand with the strategy of promoting from within, a strong one for small businesses looking to keep key employees through multiple stages of growth.
Photo Credit to Marcelo Graciolli on Flick